GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2011

 

 

SESSION LAW 2011-329

SENATE BILL 241

 

 

AN ACT TO require that DWI sentencing be at level one if the offense OCCURS WITH A CHILD LESS THAN EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, A PERSON WITH THE MENTAL DEVELOPMENT OF A CHILD LESS THAN EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, OR A PERSON WITH A PHYSICAL DISABILITY PREVENTING UNAIDED EXIT FROM THE VEHICLE IN THE vehicle, and to amend the law regarding electronic recording of custodial interrogations.

 

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

SECTION 1.  G.S. 20-179(c) reads as rewritten:

"(c)       Determining Existence of Grossly Aggravating Factors. - At the sentencing hearing, based upon the evidence presented at trial and in the hearing, the judge, or the jury in superior court, must first determine whether there are any grossly aggravating factors in the case. Whether a prior conviction exists under subdivision (1) of this subsection, or whether a conviction exists under subdivision (d)(5) of this section, shall be matters to be determined by the judge, and not the jury, in district or superior court. If the sentencing hearing is for a case remanded back to district court from superior court, the judge shall determine whether the defendant has been convicted of any offense that was not considered at the initial sentencing hearing and impose the appropriate sentence under this section. The judge must impose the Level One punishment under subsection (g) of this section if it is determined that the grossly aggravating factor in subdivision (4) of this subsection applies or two or more of the other grossly aggravating factors apply. If the judge does not find that the aggravating factor at subdivision (4) of this subsection applies, The then the judge must impose the Level Two punishment under subsection (h) of this section if it is determined that only one of the other grossly aggravating factors applies. The grossly aggravating factors are:

(1)        A prior conviction for an offense involving impaired driving if:

a.         The conviction occurred within seven years before the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced; or

b.         The conviction occurs after the date of the offense for which the defendant is presently being sentenced, but prior to or contemporaneously with the present sentencing; or

c.         The conviction occurred in district court; the case was appealed to superior court; the appeal has been withdrawn, or the case has been remanded back to district court; and a new sentencing hearing has not been held pursuant to G.S. 20-38.7.

Each prior conviction is a separate grossly aggravating factor.

(2)        Driving by the defendant at the time of the offense while his driver's license was revoked under G.S. 20-28, and the revocation was an impaired driving revocation under G.S. 20-28.2(a).

(3)        Serious injury to another person caused by the defendant's impaired driving at the time of the offense.

(4)        Driving by the defendant while (i) a child under the age of 16 years18 years, (ii) a person with the mental development of a child under the age of 18 years, or (iii) a person with a physical disability preventing unaided exit from the vehicle was in the vehicle at the time of the offense.

In imposing a Level One or Two punishment, the judge may consider the aggravating and mitigating factors in subsections (d) and (e) in determining the appropriate sentence. If there are no grossly aggravating factors in the case, the judge must weigh all aggravating and mitigating factors and impose punishment as required by subsection (f)."

SECTION 2.  G.S. 15A-211 reads as rewritten:

" 15A-211.  Electronic recording of interrogations.

(a)        Purpose. - The purpose of this Article is to require the creation of an electronic record of an entire custodial interrogation in order to eliminate disputes about interrogations, thereby improving prosecution of the guilty while affording protection to the innocent and increasing court efficiency.

(b)        Application. - The provisions of this Article shall only apply to all custodial interrogations of juveniles in homicide criminal investigations conducted at any place of detention. detention. The provisions of this Article shall also apply to any custodial interrogation of any person in a criminal investigation conducted at any place of detention if the investigation is related to any of the following crimes: any Class A, B1, or B2 felony, and any Class C felony of rape, sex offense, or assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

(c)        Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)        Electronic recording. - An audio recording that is an authentic, accurate, unaltered record; or a visual recording that is an authentic, accurate, unaltered record. A visual and audio recording shall be simultaneously produced whenever reasonably feasible, provided that a defendant may not raise this as grounds for suppression of evidence.

(2)        In its entirety. - An uninterrupted record that begins with and includes a law enforcement officer's advice to the person in custody of that person's constitutional rights, ends when the interview has completely finished, and clearly shows both the interrogator and the person in custody throughout. If the record is a visual recording, the camera recording the custodial interrogation must be placed so that the camera films both the interrogator and the suspect. Brief periods of recess, upon request by the person in custody or the law enforcement officer, do not constitute an "interruption" of the record. The record will reflect the starting time of the recess and the resumption of the interrogation.

(3)        Place of detention. - A jail, police or sheriff's station, correctional or detention facility, holding facility for prisoners, or other facility where persons are held in custody in connection with criminal charges.

(d)        Electronic Recording of Interrogations Required. - Any law enforcement officer conducting a custodial interrogation in a homicide an investigation of a juvenile shall make an electronic recording of the interrogation in its entirety. Any law enforcement officer conducting a custodial interrogation in an investigation relating to any of the following crimes shall make an electronic recording of the interrogation in its entirety:  any Class A, B1, or B2 felony; and any Class C felony of rape, sex offense, or assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

(e)        Admissibility of Electronic Recordings. - During the prosecution of any homicide,offense to which this Article applies, an oral, written, nonverbal, or sign language statement of a defendant made in the course of a custodial interrogation may be presented as evidence against the defendant if an electronic recording was made of the custodial interrogation in its entirety and the statement is otherwise admissible. If the court finds that the defendant was subjected to a custodial interrogation that was not electronically recorded in its entirety, any statements made by the defendant after that non-electronically recorded custodial interrogation, even if made during an interrogation that is otherwise in compliance with this section, may be questioned with regard to the voluntariness and reliability of the statement. The State may establish through clear and convincing evidence that the statement was both voluntary and reliable and that law enforcement officers had good cause for failing to electronically record the interrogation in its entirety. Good cause shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1)        The accused refused to have the interrogation electronically recorded, and the refusal itself was electronically recorded.

(2)        The failure to electronically record an interrogation in its entirety was the result of unforeseeable equipment failure, and obtaining replacement equipment was not feasible.

(f)         Remedies for Compliance or Noncompliance. - All of the following remedies shall be granted as relief for compliance or noncompliance with the requirements of this section:

(1)        Failure to comply with any of the requirements of this section shall be considered by the court in adjudicating motions to suppress a statement of the defendant made during or after a custodial interrogation.

(2)        Failure to comply with any of the requirements of this section shall be admissible in support of claims that the defendant's statement was involuntary or is unreliable, provided the evidence is otherwise admissible.

(3)        When evidence of compliance or noncompliance with the requirements of this section has been presented at trial, the jury shall be instructed that it may consider credible evidence of compliance or noncompliance to determine whether the defendant's statement was voluntary and reliable.

(g)        Article Does Not Preclude Admission of Certain Statements. - Nothing in this Article precludes the admission of any of the following:

(1)        A statement made by the accused in open court during trial, before a grand jury, or at a preliminary hearing.

(2)        A spontaneous statement that is not made in response to a question.

(3)        A statement made during arrest processing in response to a routine question.

(4)        A statement made during a custodial interrogation that is conducted in another state by law enforcement officers of that state.

(5)        A statement obtained by a federal law enforcement officer.

(6)        A statement given at a time when the interrogators are unaware that the person is suspected of a homicide.an offense to which this Article applies.

(7)        A statement used only for impeachment purposes and not as substantive evidence.

(h)        Destruction or Modification of Recording After Appeals Exhausted. - The State shall not destroy or alter any electronic recording of a custodial interrogation of a defendant convicted of any offense related to the interrogation until one year after the completion of all State and federal appeals of the conviction, including the exhaustion of any appeal of any motion for appropriate relief or habeas corpus proceedings. Every electronic recording should be clearly identified and catalogued by law enforcement personnel."

SECTION 3.  This act becomes effective December 1, 2011, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 18th day of June, 2011.

 

 

                                                                    s/  Philip E. Berger

                                                                         President Pro Tempore of the Senate

 

 

                                                                    s/  Thom Tillis

                                                                         Speaker of the House of Representatives

 

 

                                                                    s/  Beverly E. Perdue

                                                                         Governor

 

 

Approved 11:25 a.m. this 27th day of June, 2011